#1 Best Mindfulness for Sleep Practice, from a Psychiatrist

It’s a perennial problem that many of us face (including morning people): how to get more sleep. But to wake up feeling rested and ready to tackle the day, quantity and Quality must work. While setting a goal of reaching the recommended 7-9 hours is a must, it’s also important to ensure that your time is used appropriately and productively ( all of key stages of sleep on the head of the mind). Maintaining optimal room temperature, investing in a firm but comfortable mattress and even paying attention to what we eat can all affect how long we sleep. But mindfulness for sleep? Say more.

The past few years have seen a collective delve into the world of mindfulness. As a productivity-driven society, countless studies have laid out everything from how mindfulness can help us be more effective employees to how practice can improve performance. our physicality. And while none of this is objectively bad (we all want to feel more focused, grounded, and focused), mindfulness can also assist us in one area. The area of ​​health received less attention: rest.

Featured image of Dagny Piasecki.

The time we spend on purposeful rest is just as important as the time we spend learning, growing, and accomplishing our goals. To learn how to truly rest and come back to the day feeling rejuvenated and restored, we tapped Jud Brewer, MD, Ph.D. for expert details. The need for an alarm clock? A thing of the past.

For someone new to the world of mindfulness, how is it different from meditation?

Perhaps it is a homonym of the two allusions, but often, mindfulness and meditation are mistakenly used synonymously. In defining the difference, there are many different definitions. Some people define mindfulness as a quality, while meditation is a practice. Others call mindfulness “the awareness of ‘something'” and meditation “the awareness of ‘nothing.'”

Brewer notes: “You can be mindful while meditating, but you don’t have to meditate to be mindful.

Dr. Brewer clearly illustrates the difference, encouraging us to view meditation “as a small circle within a larger circle of mindfulness”. While meditation refers to the formal practice of sitting or walking meditation, mindfulness is generally something broader. Brewer notes: “You can be mindful while meditating, but you don’t have to meditate to be mindful.

Physiologically, how can mindfulness improve our sleep?

This general concept is easy enough to understand – a more relaxed state of consciousness, a better night’s sleep. But science takes this basic idea one step further.

“Mindfulness exercises, especially those that focus on breathing, can slow your heart rate and breathing,” says Dr. Furthermore, by practicing mindfulness, you are actively removing the stress that builds up in your body throughout the day. As Dr. Brewer notes, this naturally allows you to experience a more relaxed state.

How does mindfulness targeting and treating stress symptoms affect sleep quality?

It’s no secret that stress plays a huge role in causing less than ideal sleep. After all, we are in the midst of a mental health crisis caused by the pandemic (among many other contributing factors), with rising levels of anxiety, isolation and stress across the country. This phenomenon can lead to poor sleep, says Dr. Brewer.

But interestingly, there is a tension About Sleep probably contributes more than that. “I see this a lot with my patients,” says Dr. Brewer. “As soon as their head hits the pillow, their minds start racing. They look at the clock and worry that they won’t get enough sleep and wake up tired the next day.”

Result? A vicious, stressful sleep cycle.

Mindfulness can be a powerful antidote. Instead of trying to block or remove our mind from these thoughts and emotions, this method aims to change and change How we relate to them. When stressful thoughts or feelings arise, Dr. Brewer suggests simply being aware of them and “paying attention to the sensations in our bodies”.

He offers one of his mindfulness practices RAIN as a way to overcome these challenges.

  • FOUND Realize the upcoming stress.
  • ACCEPT / ALLOW Don’t try to push it away.
  • INVESTIGATE Curious. Ask: What is happening in my body now? Do you feel chest tightness? Do you feel a stretch in your neck?
  • NOTE Record experience. Hold the current motion until the sensation is completely relieved.

Can mindfulness be used as needed as well as incorporated into a more consistent sleep routine?

Of course, losing sleep once a night is of course different from insomnia. While some of us experience the tossing feature of a tossing night, insomnia is something more common. Defined as a sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, insomnia can impair your ability to function throughout the day. Thankfully, practicing mindfulness for sleep can positively impact both ends of the sleep difficulty spectrum.

Brewer confirms, noting that proper mindfulness is used when needed and can be an important part of regular, healthy sleep habits. However, making mindfulness a habit will yield the best results.

Not sure how to make this happen? Dr Brewer’s easy ‘5-finger breathing’ mindfulness practice can be done anytime, anywhere.

  1. Place the index finger of one hand at the base of the little finger of the opposite hand.
  2. Inhale while stroking your index finger over the tip of your little finger.
  3. Exhale while moving back.
  4. Continue until you have tracked your entire hand.
  5. Invert and move back towards your little finger.

What is the most effective way to use mindfulness in a nighttime routine? Ideally, how long should you practice mindfulness for optimal sleep?

If you’re looking to optimize your snooze schedule by practicing mindfulness for sleep, Dr. Brewer says being in bed is best. Follow these steps for the most efficient process:

  • Turn off the lights and lie down before you start exercising.
  • Power off your device and eliminate distractions.
  • Identify a particular mindfulness practice that you enjoy and can do while you lie down.

For optimal results, Dr. Brewer suggests making mindfulness practice a habit. You can learn more about establishing (and maintaining!) Healthy Habits with Dr. Brewer’s Habit Framework here.

As for your mindful time to sleep practice, he notes that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “It really is the one that works best for you. I often suggest that people practice a mindfulness exercise until they fall asleep,” advises Dr. This time can be as short as 30 seconds to several minutes or more. It is important that you are creating space to relax your mind and body as you prepare to fall asleep.

What about waking hours? Can practicing mindfulness during the day positively affect sleep quality at night?

Dr Brewer said: “My lab just published a randomized controlled trial that showed that when people practice mindfulness during the day to address their anxiety, it improves their quality of life. their sleep quality at night.

His app, Unwinding Anxiety, was developed to provide the mindfulness training method used in research. “Just adding mindfulness, participants were four times more likely to report an improvement in their sleep,” he notes.

Inference? Harnessing mindfulness throughout the day can do wonders for your sleep health.

What is your favorite way to practice mindfulness for sleep before bed?

Dr. Brewer encourages the practice of doing body scans before bed. He notes that the habit of focusing on bodily sensations rather than feeding anxiety-induced thought processes. “Body scans help you recognize areas of your body that are stressed, let it relax naturally, and end the cycle of worrying habits,” he says. Come here for Dr. Brewer’s 10-minute guided full-body scanning meditation.

What are the resources to learn more about mindfulness for sleep?

Dr. Brewer quote Mindfulness in pure English was one of his favorite books when he first started learning meditation. “I personally have read it three times. It’s a great introduction to mindfulness and a very accessible book. You can also visit for more mindfulness and meditation resources.

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